Newberry volleyball standouts ink letters of intent

Two more Newberry High School volleyball players are getting an opportunity to play at the next level.

On Wednesday, Nicole Everson and Paige Dinges signed letters of intent to play at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.

The pair helped lead the Lady Panthers (23-4) to the Class 1A state championship game in November.

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“Nicole and Paige have been instrumental in our success the past two seasons at Newberry,” said Newberry coach Hank Rone. “They work so well together and Coach Nick (Cheronis) is getting not only two great athletes, but two great team players. I am so proud of both of them.”

Everson finished third on the team this past season with 183 kills. She also finished second with 73 blocks.

“Nicole has come a long way since walking into our gym the summer of her freshman year,” Rone said. “She couldn’t serve a ball over the net, but she took advantage of the off-season program that we run here and became a tremendous impact player her sophomore thru senior seasons for our program.”

She’s a left-hander who usually played on the right side.

“She never once complained when I asked her to run some middle, a true team-first player,” Rone said. “I can’t wait to see how Coach Nick utilizes her and the sky is the limit for her.”

Everson said the opportunity to play at the next level is something that she’s been thinking about for a long time.

“It’s a big deal to me,” she said. “This is a goal I’ve had since my freshman year. To see my other teammates go and sign, I was like, ‘I want to do that.’ So it’s a really big deal, and I’m really excited.”

Meanwhile, Dinges finished second on the team with 219 kills.

“Paige is one of the most talented athletes I have been around at Newberry,” Rone said. “Her approach jump is up to 10’1. She became a 6-rotation player for us her senior season.”

Dinges said Coach Nick, who was an assistant at the University of Florida, can help her get to the next level.

“I think he is really going to help me get to the next level and push me to be a better volleyball player, and encourage me, and I’m sure the players will do the same,” said Dinges, who added 159 digs.

She transferred to Newberry her junior year to give the Panthers a back row option in their offense, but she is a versatile player.

“Her defense and timing on hits this year really came together,” said Rone, who believes she has an opportunity to be a big-time prospect. “She was a big-time impact player. Being a 6-rotation player gives Coach Nick a lot of options with her.”

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